To be honest the very last thing I expected to come across today was a field with sheep in it, but that, remarkably, was exactly what I found. Taking a cue from my entry a couple of days ago, today I decided to go and explore Canary Wharf. I had only been there a couple of times before, and had never really looked around the area. Yet it looked so modern and snazzy in the photos I had seen, today I decided to put that right, first trundling down to Greenwich and then getting the DLR under the river.
Getting off just a stop later, I was instantly surprised. Where I had been expecting to be surrounded by skyscrapers, the area around Island Gardens felt fairly low rise and mundane. Having said that, the shiny towers of the Wharf looming over the area, there was definitely a sense of wealth and power in that area which I don’t feel south of the river.
Using the skyscrapers as compass points, I headed through Millwall Park and into Mudchute Farm and Park. It was there that I found my biggest surprise of the day: a couple of fields, albeit rather small ones, with sheep in. They were obviously a tourist attraction, but there, in one of London’s most developed areas, it was the last thing I expected to find.
I trundled on through the parks in the south of the Isle Of Dogs, my surroundings becoming more and more built up as I went. It felt like Manhattan, skyscrapers rising from both sides of busy streets, DLR trains whizzing around on overhead tracks. It seemed so modern and sleek I couldn’t help being quite taken by it: there was clearly a shedload of money in that area, I could see evidence of it almost everywhere I looked. The way the gleaming buildings were reflected in the docks between them made it seem like I had been suddenly transported to a distant city of vast wealth. At the same time, the docks themselves felt like reminders of a distant past: this was, after all, once London’s gateway to the British Empire; a place where countless thousands had sailed from and to, bringing riches from all over the world. Yet the area has now become one of the world’s foremost commercial centres, the docks now mostly inhabited by luxury yachts and crossed by stylish foot bridges.
I didn’t stay long at Canary Wharf, just exploring one or two of it’s small yet emaculate parks and it’s mall which rather cooly links directly into the tube station, before getting the Jubilee line to North Greenwich. It amazes me how every part of this city has a different feel to it: today I had a look around one of it’s richest areas, and got a sense of just how exuberant London can be. To be honest I found it astonishing, partly because of the wealth, but mostly because of the sheep.